The burgundy Jaguar Mark 2 driven by Inspector Morse on TV show Morse has been voted the most iconic TV police car of all time, in a new poll commissioned by automotive entertainment show Top Gear. The classic British model was said to top the cops by more than half (53%) of those polled, closely followed by Gene Hunt’s Audi Quattro from Ashes to Ashes (43%) and the Ferrari 308 GTS which took played in Magnum, PI.
The survey of 1,000 UK adults comes ahead of the second episode of this Sunday’s new series, where presenters put several legendary crime-fighting cars to the test on TV, with hilarious results. The episode celebrates a time when TV police cars were as famous and recognizable as the actors who drove them.
The 10 most popular police and detective cars in the country were
1. Jaguar Mark 2 – Inspector Morse, Morse (53%)
2. Audi Quattro – Gene hunting, ashes to ashes (43%)
3. Ferrari 308 GTS – Thomas Magnum, Magnum PI (41%)
4. Ford Capri – William Bodie and Ray Doyle, the professionals (41%)
5. Ford Gran Torino – Dave Starsky, Starsky and Hutch (40%)
6. Ferrari Testarossa – Sonny Crockett, Miami Vice (37%)
seven. Land Rover Defender – Vera Stanhope, Vera (33%)
8. Ford Consul GT – Inspector Jack Regan, The Sweeney (28%)
9. Ford Cortina – Gene Hunt, Life on Mars (27%)
ten. Mercedes SL convertible and Ford Escort XR3i – Harriet and Jim, Dempsey and Makepeace (27%)
The Ford Sierra Cosworth driven by Freddie Spender (24%), the Triumph Roadster 2000 of Jim Bergerac (24%) and the Ford Zephyr of Z Cars (21%) narrowly missed a place in the poll by placing 11, 12 and 13 posts respectively. 70% of respondents said the design and iconic look of a car are the most sought-after features.
The Mark 2 embodied Jaguar’s motto of ‘grace, pace and space’, with almost a third of those polled identifying Morse’s chosen crime-fighting vehicle as the ultimate TV police car in terms of style and design classics. Seven in ten respondents said the 1960s were the greatest era of iconic car designs. Although the Mark 2 was launched in 1959, it was sold throughout the 1960s, with over 80,000 built in Coventry.
Alex Renton, Executive Producer of Top Gear, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Jaguar Mark 2 take top spot in the poll for the nation’s favorite TV police car. A true British classic that was brilliant casting that tells you a lot about Morse as a character. We were thrilled to have the real show Jaguar Mark 2 on the track and see the joy it brought to Chris Harris behind the wheel who is a Morse fanatic.
Chris Harris said: “The Mark 2 originally had a reputation for grace and sophistication, but in the 1980s when Morse was on TV it had a different image, it was a bit more of a stealer of bank than a stately home. But it all fit the character of Morse, the curmudgeon and intellect who liked real ale and crossword puzzles and didn’t like jokes. If a big TV police car can say anything about the character or the driver that almost no line could tell, so this is the best of the lot”
As well as traveling down memory lane in some of their old TV police car favourites, this week’s show sees Freddie on a mission to give the Sinclair C5 another quirky adventure, as he puts his neck on the line , literally, trying to break the national speed limit in a C5 bobsleigh – dubbed “Ski5”, naturally – on the Lillehammer Olympic luge track in Norway.
Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness are back for their sixth driving series – Top Gear airs this Sunday at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.